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Child Development Stages

In the first years of a childs life many important


milestones are reached. By the end of the first year a
baby will have already acquired some social skills.
He will enjoy imitating people and will also test
parental responses to his behaviour. For example,
what do my parents do if I refuse food? In terms of
movement, an infant will be able to reach a sitting
position unassisted and pull himself up to stand. He
may be able to walk momentarily without support. As
far as communication is concerned, he will be able to
use simple gestures such as shaking his head for
no, say mama and dada and he will try to imitate
words. When it comes to cognitive development, he
will be able to find hidden objects easily and use
objects correctly such as drinking from a cup.
By the age of two or three, the infant has
reached the toddler stage. In terms of social skills,
this means, he is becoming more independent,
which may result in the occasional tantrum.
However, he has learned to take turns in games and
spontaneously expresses affection. His physical
development will also have increased significantly as
he can now move around a lot faster and even run.
He can also climb up stairs or onto relatively low
obstacles, and even ride a small tricycle. However,
he will still, be rather unsteady on his feet at times.
When it comes to language and communication, he
can now understand most sentences and uses four
and five-word sentences. In terms of cognitive
development, hes learned to play make-believe
games and uses his imagination more. He has also
mastered the skill of sorting objects according to
their shape and colour.
Between the ages of six and twelve, a child
reaches what is termed 'middle childhood and they
will stay in this phase until they reach adolescence.
In middle childhood, childrens development is more
affected by the outside world and the childs world
expands to include friends, teachers, sports trainers
and so on. Children develop at various rates and
while some children in middle childhood seem very
mature in terms of their emotional and social skills,
others seem very immature. As far as physical
milestones are concerned, during this stage growth
is steady but less rapid than during the pre-school
years. There are some major changes occurring at
this stage as baby teeth will come out and
permanent adult teeth will grow. As the mouth is not
yet fully developed this may cause overcrowding.
Eyes will reach maturity in both size and function. In
terms of their cognitive ability, children at this stage
master the skills of sequencing and ordering, which
are essential for maths. By the end of this period
children should have acquired effective reading and
writing skills.